This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




In Re the Welfare of: T.S., L.S., M.S., C.S., D.J.

Filed July 21, 1998


Schumacher, Judge

Hennepin County District Court

File No. JX97050730

Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Andrew J. Mitchell, Senior Assistant County Attorney, 1210 Health Services Building, 525 Portland Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for appellant Hennepin County Department of Children and Family Services)

William E. McGee, Hennepin County Public Defender, Warren R. Sagstuen, Assistant Public Defender, 317 Second Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2700 (for respondent mother)

William E. McGee, Hennepin County Public Defender, Peter W. Gorman, Assistant Public Defender, 317 Second Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401-2700 (for respondents L.S. and D.J.)

Michael J. Biglow, 839 Midland Bank Building, 401 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for guardian ad litem)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Randall, Judge, and Schumacher, Judge.



Appellant Hennepin County Department of Children and Family Services claims the district court erred in placing two children in long-term foster care. We affirm.


In 1994, the five children of respondent mother were adjudicated children in need of protection or services (CHIPS). By August 1995, custody of the children had been transferred to Hennepin County. When mother did not progress in her case plan, the county petitioned to terminate mother's parental rights. After trial, the district court (a) ordered the two older children into different long-term foster homes; (b) noted the significant relationship between the second and fifth children and ordered the fifth child into long-term foster care with the second child; and (c) terminated mother's parental rights to the other two children. The county appeals.


Long-term foster care my be ordered "only if," among other things, the district court finds adoption is not in the child's best interests and that

(i) the child has reached age 12 and reasonable efforts by the responsible social service agency have failed to locate an adoptive family for the child; or

(ii) the child is a sibling of a child described in clause (i) and the siblings have a significant positive relationship and are ordered into the same long-term foster care home.

Minn. Stat. § 260.191, subd. 3b(a) (3) (1996). Even if a child meets the statutory requirements for long-term foster care, such a placement is still disfavored. In re Welfare of J.M., J.M., & M.M., 574 N.W.2d 717, 721 (Minn. 1998). Here, the juvenile court invoked the first clause regarding the second child and, based thereon, invoked the second clause regarding the fifth child. The county and the children agree that the propriety of the fifth child's placement depends on the propriety of the second child's placement. Thus, the critical question here is the propriety of the second child's placement.

While the district court made most of the findings justifying long-term foster placements, the county argues the district court did not find, and that the record does not support a finding, that reasonable efforts failed to locate an adoptive family. See id., at 722 (permanency statute "must be read as an express limitation on the general requirement that all termination decisions be made in the best interests of the child").[1] The district court found (a) the second child (currently age 13) and fifth child (currently age 8) have lived in the same foster home since 1995; (b) the second child wishes to stay in her current foster home; (c) the second child's custodial preference is "intelligent and well defined[;]" (d) the second child's age and custodial preference make adoption "unrealistic and unlikely;" (e) the fifth child is attached to both his current foster home and the second child; (f) removing the fifth child from either his current foster home or from the second child will result in "a very difficult emotional separation" for him; (g) the fifth child's "extreme difficulty" adjusting to change will have a "substantial and negative impact" on the likelihood of his adoption; and (h) it is not in the fifth child's best interests to be separated from the second child. Because these findings are supported by the record, they require the inference that it is not currently in the best interests of the second or fifth children to be adopted. See In re Welfare of A.R.G.-B., 551 N.W.2d 256, 261 (Minn. App. 1996) (evidence and reasonable inferences viewed in the light most favorable to the prevailing party). Therefore, we cannot say that the long-term foster placement is defective simply due to the absence of a finding explicitly stating adoption is not in the children's best interests.


[1] We note J.M. was issued after the district court made its decision in this case.